What it Feels Like to Jump off a Cliff

Thanks to Luke George who took this photo a couple of years ago at our cliff jumping spot.

Thanks to Luke George who took this photo a couple of years ago at our cliff jumping spot.

If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you follow?

Actually, yes I would.

One of my favourite summer activities is cliff jumping.  There’s a spot about 2 hours away, where the deep ocean meets the cliffs to form chiseled inlets.

There are various heights from which you can jump. Three meters; seven; fifteen. I once saw someone jump from about twenty meters and was afraid I’d see their body splat onto the rocks below.

I say I love cliff jumping, but to be honest, everything in me hates taking the leap. As I stand on the edge, every nerve ending tingles, frantically bombarding my brain with the instinctive message that jumping is a bad idea.

I hate the moment when I almost jump but don’t, and then, even more, when I launch myself out and have that split second realization that it’s too late to go back.

I hate the feeling of falling; legs kicking at the air; arms tensing in an attempt to defy gravity.

I hate the way the water hurts if you hit it on a bad angle, like a mammoth slap.

In fact, there is only one thing I really like about cliff jumping. It’s when the water catches you and holds you momentarily in its belly, and you rise and break the surface and feel ecstatic triumph. When you know, with a sense of pride, that all your friends jumped off a cliff, and you were brave enough to follow.

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Flying North for the Winter: Half Empty

1338463_59722516I usually don’t travel during the school year because my health is too fragile to risk anything that could interfere with work. But this year, seeing photos of friends travelling through sunny Europe as I was sitting in South Australia feeling cold, I was itching to find somewhere warm to relax.

So I booked my trip to Cairns, imagining posting my own enviable facebook pics of blue skies, sun and ocean.

When we arrived it was raining and it hardly stopped. I think I got more rain in three days of Cairns’ ‘dry season’, than I’ve had all year in SA. We didn’t see a single beach and thoughts of going out to the Great Barrier Reef were squelched due to ‘unseasonably bad weather.’ On top of that, my body reminded me continually that I’m exhausted from the end of term and that CFS has stolen my right to be a good traveler.

I felt like a fool having bragged that I’d be posting photos of a gloriously enviable summer, and to rub salt in the wound, SA had unseasonably warm weather this week. While I was sitting in a wet cloud, they were having days of sunshine and blue skies, and some of my facebook friends actually posted pictures of themselves at the beach! In July!

As I sat on my bed on our final night, listening to the thunderous pelting of the rain on the tin roof, my phone chimed. I looked at the weather notification. “Warning: Cairns. Chance of showers.”

Because there are always two sides to a story, stay tuned for ‘Flying North for the Winter: Half Full.’

My Lucky Country

I was at the movies the other night to watch Gatsby with some girlfriends.

We were quietly chatting our way through the fifteen minutes of pre-movie ads, when this one came on. The conversation faltered as its magnetism drew us in. I made the comment that ‘there’s something about this ad that is just so me,’ and we watched in fascination as it unfolded. We tried to guess what it was for, and I got it: My state; my home.

I’ve always been proud to be Australian, and ads like this make me see why.

If you have a favourite ad from your country, city or state, I’d love to see it. Send me the link!

Proud Teacher Moments

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I love those moments that make teaching worthwhile. It’s a tough job, but such a rewarding one. You see hundreds of students come and go. You lose track of who graduated when, and what they’re doing now, and for the most part they vanish off into the world somewhere, hopefully slightly better equipped for life because they sat in your classroom. Often, though, you just never know. But then there are the ones who stay in touch; who make you proud. Not because they’ve done anything greater than the ones you never hear from again, but because they come back to tell you. This young man makes me proud. He’s one of SA’s up and coming footballers, he’s dedicated and down to earth, and he’s published a blog on the Port Adelaide Football Club’s website. He told me I taught him everything he knows. I didn’t. But maybe I helped him a bit along the way, and he’s been kind enough to come back and tell me.

Fields and Ocean

Fields and Ocean

I’ve always loved open, secluded fields that overlook the ocean. It’s the convergence of earth and sea, the perfect place to experience both the wildness and beauty of nature. Unfortunately, when you live in the city, they’re quite hard to access, especially if you want to avoid jumping the fence of an unsuspecting farmer (though let’s be honest, a little bit of fence-jumping doesn’t go astray). This spot, however, is one that I found on a recent Easter trip, and has now made it into my ‘Top 5 favourite places in South Australia.’(Or at least it would have, if such a list existed.)
It often amazes me, as I look at the ocean, that such a huge body of water meets the land, overlapping on such a narrow strip of sand, and yet we can trust it to come no further. We build our houses only meters from the sea, which is incomprehensibly vast and deep, with full confidence that it will not overflow. It reminds me of God’s rhetorical question to Job: ‘…who shut in the sea with doors…and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?